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AI for good – have you heard about the World Hive Network?


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It’s no secret that agriculture is in trouble. We depend on bees for our entire ecosystem, including the food we eat and the air we breathe – but these pollinators are quickly disappearing according to Sabiha Rumani Malik: founder and executive president of The World Bee Project organisation.

Fortunately, AI technology could help reverse this trend – and save our planet’s future!

World Hive Network

There are a number of reasons why pollinators are being driven to extinction – and did you know that bees, as well as other pollinators such as butterflies, enable plants to reproduce and produce seeds?

Basically, the process of pollination is one we take for granted, and many people don’t even realise it’s occurring.

What happens is that pollen gets transferred from plant to plant with the help of insects (such as bees or butterflies), spreading fertility across species in order to produce a range of foods.

Without these creatures, this delicate balance would be lost – resulting not only in dire consequences for food supplies but also on our very own ecosystem too!

The reason why bees are dying are many, and humans are the ones largely responsible for their dwindling numbers. A variety of factors are affecting them including pesticides, drought, habitat destruction, nutrition deficits and air pollution; these four factors have been identified as prominent causes and all can be attributed to human activity.

Urban development across the world and intensive farming practices have destroyed a number of pollinator-friendly habitats where honeybees live. Certain types of neonicotinoids – an insecticide that is fatal against insects such as bees – have contributed to bee deaths due to toxicity levels in pollen like grains they feed on and then die from.

Flowers are essential to ensure the success of bees along with a variety of habitats where they can nest comfortably.

So with the numbers of bees decreasing, we would lose things like coffee, avocados, lemons, limes, oranges, and so many different fruits and vegetables that are pollinated by honeybees.

However, while these commodities wouldn’t completely disappear, their enormous production would simply be unsustainable, and their prices would spiral out of control.

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 In order to gain a better understanding of the health of the world’s bee population in different environments, data must be provided. However, to date, there’s not been an effort to remotely monitor bees in different regions of the world to research the pollinator crisis and pollination crisis globally.

The World Bee Project is the first private globally coordinated organization to launch and be devoted to monitoring the global honey bee population. Since 2014, they’ve encouraged scientists from around the world to conduct research on this issue as it’s one that has huge implications for people’s livelihoods throughout a range of industries.

Their goal is not only to provide insight about what causes “bee decline,” but also to make sure all stakeholders are involved in finding a solution together so we can give future generations of bees their best chance at survival!

Their work enables a better understanding of bee health at the global level, but also provides a very detailed understanding of what is happening at the local level, so farmers and beekeepers can improve the health of their bees, enhance their crop and honey yields, regardless of farm size or location.

In the same way that technology is applied to other innovative projects, it can help save the bees. The data from bees and hives can be gathered by using Internet-of-things sensors, such as microphones and cameras that can detect and record invasive predators.

With the help of wireless technologies, robotics, and computer vision, discoveries and solutions can be made.

A key metric of a hive’s health is the sounds it makes, so listening to the hives is critical to determining colony health, strength, and behaviour as well as collecting temperature, humidity, apiary weather conditions, and hive weight.

Once the data is fed into the Oracle Cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms begin to analyse it. The AI will use patterns in the behaviour of the hive to determine if a swarm is imminent.

The insights are then shared with beekeepers and conservationists so they are aware of when their bees need help before anything disastrous occurs!

Data from bee colonies worldwide can be studied and analysed using the hive network by analysing algorithms and research. The hive also allows students, researchers, and even interested citizens to interact with this information through an open API.

All of this allows for sustainable, innovative local solutions that improve farmer and beekeeper livelihoods, as well as enhancing urban regeneration.

Up until now, advanced monitoring infrastructure was only available for large commercial farms, but now smallholder farmers in developing economies can benefit from the same technology. 

The technology can assure pollination quality while maintaining bee welfare and has already seen increases of over 30% in crop yield and 20-25% decreases in bee-mortality rates on average.

The technology can be utilised in urban regeneration programmes to track honey bee health and nectar flow to determine how the ecosystem is faring and what steps need to be taken for restoration.

The World Bee Project is bringing together the brightest minds in bee health research and the latest advances in high-performance computing.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence will also enable solutions and intelligence to be delivered directly to smallholder farmers and beekeepers – and there’s also developing mobile and voice technology apps to add to the hive-sensors.

Malik shares that as technology helps them to reach their mission of saving the world’s bee population – “The World Bee Project Hive Network multiplies our impact across the globe and makes the action more quick and effective.”

“Our innovations can play a significant role in enabling all stakeholders, scientists, governments, and corporates such as banks and insurance companies to better mitigate the threats to food security, smallholder farmer and beekeeper livelihoods and to create predictive models to ameliorate potential future stresses.”

Sabiha Malik

Bees are one such creature with huge benefits for human life on Earth! Let’s work together to protect them (and our future).